Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘academic writing

iPod in handOur colleague Andrew Checkley E-Learning Manger at Croydon College has been developing a Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) course with his Learning Resources (LRC) team which he talked about at the March 16 London FE Moodle Roundtable event. The course is on academic writing. Find out more about it on their E-Learning blog post.

As well as using material from the LRC on the course Andrew found some useful research material on the State Library of Victoria’s website. The resource covers:

 

  • working out what question you are trying to answer
  • finding the information
  • choosing the resources you use
  • making and organising notes
  • presenting your material
  • reflecting on your work.

There’s also some handy material on writing essays too which covers:

  • identifying the essay question
  • using quotations
  • writing
  • editing.

Plus there are tips on study skills:

  • stress management
  • dealing with exams.

Last but not least at this time of the year many of our students are doing GCSE examinations in English and maths so this BBC Bitesize app available on Android and iOS will help you. The app has flashcards which will help you revise and covers numerous GCSE subjects.

Critical thinking booksStella Cottrell’s book Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Arguments is a guide that can take you from college to university. It helps you look at what you read in a different light by demonstrating and explaining how academic authors build up their arguments in their writing.

How does that help you? It will help you understand arguments and guides you into weighing up the logic of them. This will not only assist you in evaluating different authors’ opinions and theories but will also benefit you in developing your own writing style to convince your tutors of how you have assessed others’ work and built up your own arguments with persuasive evidence.

The book gets you to identify bias, hidden meanings and follow a line of reasoning to its logical conclusion. It’s not only useful for essay writing, reading and making notes from academic literature but is also invaluable for debating and any piece of writing or presentation where you would need to persuade your audience of your arguments.

Cottrell’s book gives you exercises to do to build up your skills of critique, analysis and argument. It’s one you can dip into time and time again. Having read it myself it’s easy to recognise that had a book like this existed when I was university it would have been a key to getting a top grade!

Palgrave who publish the book also have a free companion website area Critical Thinking which sits under their useful Study Skills website.

If you’re just starting your studies then the Pocket Guide by Kate Williams called Getting Critical is a good starter guide and similarly advises on reading with a critical eye and developing your writing skills so you are analytical too. We also have another Critical Thinking guide by Debra Hills. Hills’s guide gives you a definition and takes you through the steps in the process of reading and writing critically and has a number of tips on using sources, note taking and planning your answers.


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